(Marcin) #1

drawing board By Sadie J. Valeri

is the most important part of creat-
ing a convincing figure drawing.
Humans have an infinite variety of
proportions, but that variety falls
within a very narrow range. It’s very
easy to make your figure drawing
look distorted or even alien if the
proportions fall outside the range of
human possibility.
The best way I’ve found to avoid
potential proportion problems is to
use the straight-line block-in tech-
nique to create accurate angles in
the figure. If all of the angles in your
drawing are correct, the proportions
will be correct and the drawing will
fall into place. One way to illustrate
the importance of accurate angles
is to picture a capital “A”. We can
imagine a wide “A” or a narrow “A”
or a normal, well-proportioned “A.”
The only aspects of the letter “A” that
change in these three scenarios are
the tilts of the two sides.
In this article I’ll demonstrate
how I complete a straight-line block-
in for the human figure—with accu-
rate angles—which will prepare you
to later complete a precise draw- ing
of the figure.

  1. Draw the Envelope
    First I construct an “envelope”—a
    multisided box constructed out of
    long, straight lines. The lines are like
    beams leaning against the outside
    points of the model. Depending on
    the pose, I’m referring to the most
    exterior points of a shoulder, a knee
    or a forehead, for example. This enve-
    lope places the figure on the page
    and establishes general proportions.
    Using my whole arm, moving
    from the shoulder, I draw long, soft

Human Figure Drawing, Part 1

Use the classical, straight-line block-in method to create accurate angles and proportions for
contour drawings of the human figure.

AbovE: Valeri uses a straight-line block-in method to begin her classical figure drawings. In
Study of Torrey (charcoal and white chalk, 18x14), she’s left the lower portion in its simple
contour drawing stage and built up values and modeled form in the upper portion of the drawing.